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Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

THE TRIUMPHAL CHARIOT                   393

It is certain that mysterious facts, referrable to the unconscious
mind at first and then to the subconscious at the same time as
conscious ideas are appearing, reveal in the child a power to absorb
images from the environment even when these are deposited in
the mental labyrinths—as it reveals itself in the truly miraculous fact
that the child can absorb what is erroneously called " the mother
, tongue " with all its phonetic and grammatical peculiarities, when
it does not yet possess the mental faculties which are necessary
in order to learn: the voluntary attention, the memory, the
reasoning power. It is also true that things absorbed at the
unconscious age, by force of nature, are those which persist in
such a profound manner that they become identified with the
person, so that the mother tongue actually becomes a character of
the race, the property of the human individual.

On the other hand adults, who learn a foreign language when,
the mind is mature, do it with difficulty and do not succeed in
imitating to perfection the spoken sounds, never losing their foreign
accent and always making some grammatical mistake.

The child, in the first two years of its life, is preparing with
its absorbent mind all the characters of the individual, although
he is unaware of it. At three years of age there is shown the motor
activity through which experiences are establishing the definite
46 conscious mind ". The motor organ employed in the transfor-
mation is essentially the hand which has to make use of objects.
It is well known that the child wants to touch everything and
concentrates on games which are carried out by the intelligence
and the hand in partnership.

The importance of the hand as an organ which co-operates in
the age of childhood in the building up of the conscious mind is
not yet utilized in education.

The powers of the absorbent mind are obscured by degrees
as the organization of the conscious mind advances; they are, how-
ever, still in existence during childhood, and permit, as is shown
in our universal experience (that is, among almost all the human
races), the ** absorption " of culture to a vastly surprising extent.